Chesterfield scales back July 4 parade

  • The Roberts family of Bofat Hill Farm in Chesterfield ride in the 71st annual Chesterfield Parade, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Chesterfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Published: 6/13/2021 8:39:11 PM

CHESTERFIELD — A Chesterfield July Fourth Parade and celebration will take place next month, but, just as in 2020, will be a bit different from what residents and visitors are accustomed to.

“It’s an official parade, just not a traditional parade,” said Leslie Kellogg, a member of the parade committee.

With only five weeks or so to plan the parade and not knowing what state COVID-19 restrictions would still be in place, Kellogg said organizers had to replace the slow-moving parade, featuring streets lined with thousands of spectators observing a mix of vehicles, floats, performers and marchers, with a faster-rolling drive-by of fire trucks and vintage vehicles making their way through the town.

Starting at 10 a.m. on the holiday, antique and interesting cars are welcome to be at the firehouse to participate. No one, though, will be allowed to ride on the beds of pickup trucks or other vehicles because of the speeds and hilly terrain, Kellogg said.

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the storied parade was canceled for the first time in its history and replaced with the substitute celebration, where at least 375 people waved and applauded from homes along the route.

This year, pandemic restrictions also prompted the Chesterfield Fourth of July Association not to move forward with inviting people to march in a parade.

Ed Severance, who chairs the association, said the group had to make a decision by May 1 about whether to hold the event. Because outdoor celebrations like the parade won’t be permitted until Aug. 1, it was decided to cancel it.

“If we didn’t begin the process on May 1, we knew we couldn’t pull it together at this time,” Severance said.

Kellogg said the parade usually draws people from throughout the region, but those who are vaccinated or have friends and family members and can find a place to view it should still find the parade appealing.

Regular updates, including a map of the route, will be on the Chesterfield Fourth of July Parade Facebook page and the town website.

Both Kellogg and Severance said that in 2022, when the parade will mark its 75th anniversary, the event will be normal.

“We want people to think about floats for next year,” Kellogg said. “The more floats the better.”

Severance also said that for the 75th anniversary of the parade, the association plans on putting on a full event. “We’re going to have the best one ever, we hope,” he said.

Select Board Chairman Roger Fuller said that he understood the decision not to go forward with the traditional event this year, even if it will be missed.

“I think we all would have preferred the regular parade,” Fuller said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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